Thank you, Tokyo Olympics, for bringing us the ‘beast mode’ we all needed

Many wanted the Tokyo Olympics cancelled, but in the end, they were incredible.

The best.

Pushing past the flimsiest steel barrier ever constructed, into a restricted area he clearly shouldn’t have had access to, Boxall ripped off his required mask and proceeded to… dry hump a fence like The Ultimate Warrior circa Wrestlemania 6?

Like I said. Beast Mode.

The best part: In the background, a Japanese Olympic official, doing her level best to provide resistance, raises her hands like a frightened gazelle and then succumbs. Slowly those raised hands are lowered, evolving into confused claps. OK, she seems to say. You’re here now. There’s nothing I can do about this. I’m just going to try and enjoy this front row seat to Beast Mode, starring Dean Boxall.

In this metaphor, Boxall is the Tokyo Olympics. Both as an event and an idea. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic both probably shouldn’t be here. As the world reels from the effects of the delta strain and global vaccine hesitancy, this is the Olympics no one asked for. Dean, what are you doing here? Bugger off, Dean. Now is not the time.

High jumpers Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi gave each other their gold medals. This is too much.

Me? I’m the Japanese official. We’re all the Japanese official. Nervous, unsure how to react, ultimately acquiescing to this moment completely out of our control. Even in Japan, the host country, people were protesting the Olympics. First we collectively raised our hands in passive resistance. Seconds later we were all clapping.

And we were clapping because Dean Boxall is awesome. Reckless, sure. But so awesome. The Olympics were reckless too — but also awesome.

This is what the Olympics delivers: Beast Mode direct to your screen and your heart. It’s in the business of providing iconic moments like Boxall’s. Moments that simultaneously inspire and subvert our sense of what’s possible. Weird shit, displays of pure athleticism.

Two men collapsing into one another’s arms when they realize they can share a gold medal instead of duelling to the death for it. Skateboarding girls cheering each other on, making quick friends in the face of fierce competition. Runners stumbling, falling over in potentially race-ending collisions, miraculously recovering to win races.

Incredible, awe-inspiring moments.

Maybe it’s because we live in a universe where moments like these are worshipped, contorted and shaped into GIFs, tweets and memes in an infinite social media content spiral, but it somehow feels like we’ve had more of these moments compared to previous Olympics. That these Olympic Games have meant more than we ever could have expected when we cynically, reluctantly invited them into our homes.

Personally, as a man living in Sydney, a city wrestling with strict lockdowns that could potentially last for months, the Olympics was been a salve I didn’t realize I needed. It was a welcome distraction as I juggled home-schooling, work and a near-permanent dread at the daily ritual of waiting for Sydney case numbers to drop so we can all go back outside and live relatively normal lives.

There were a million reasons why the Olympic Games shouldn’t have happened in 2021. A million reasons why we shouldn’t have watched and supported what is arguably an irresponsible event run for the wrong reasons. But it’s also equally possible that — this year — the Olympics were more useful than ever.

The Tokyo Olympics probably shouldn’t have happened because of COVID-19. But I’m also happy it happened — because of COVID-19. If that makes sense.

None of it makes sense.

But right now, sport — with its simple rules and digestible outcomes, with its warm blanket of normalcy and straightforward narratives of triumph over adversity — is maybe the only thing that makes sense.

The Olympics, much like Dean Boxall, busted its way into our homes and televisions and refused to leave. An unwelcome guest. But, like the uncertain Olympics official dealing with the uncontainable Boxall as he dry humped a fence, I’m glad the Olympics forced their way into my life. I couldn’t have done lockdown without it.

CDC eases travel restriction on Japan and other countries ahead of the Olympics

The agency says people should be fully vaccinated before traveling.

The CDC’s Level 4 risk assessment advises against all travel to a country and recommends being vaccinated if you must go there. Level 3 is more forgiving. The risk is still high, but the CDC doesn’t strictly recommend against it for vaccinated people.

The State Department has updated its travel recommendations to match.

How to watch the All-Star Game 2021 tonight without cable

Baseball’s best will be on stage in Denver this evening.

Here’s how you can watch all of the All-Star action without cable.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels will be the first player in baseball history to hit and pitch in the All-Star Game.

For the National League, the starters are:

For the American League, the starters are:

Mike Trout was voted to his ninth All-Star Game but is recovering from an injured calf and will not play, so Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins will start in his place. Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL on Saturday and will miss the rest of the season. Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds will take his place. Buster Posey was voted to start his seventh All-Star Game behind the plate for the National League but will miss the game with a hand injury. J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins will start at catcher.

Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani will do it all. The Major League leader in home runs at the break, and the owner of a 3.49 ERA as a starting pitcher, made history by becoming the first player to be selected to the All-Star Game as both a position player and a pitcher. He’ll hit and pitch in the All-Star Game (and he also took part in last night’s Home Run Derby).

You can see the full MLB All-Star Game rosters here, including reserves and pitchers.

The MLB All-Star Game starts tonight at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 p.m. ET) on Fox. Cable TV cord-cutters have a number of options for watching the All-Star Game via a live TV streaming service, detailed below. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries Fox in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes Fox. Sling TV offers Fox in only a handful of areas.

Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes Fox. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic $70-a-month package includes Fox. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

Naomi Osaka drops out of Wimbledon

The withdrawal follows Osaka’s exit from the French Open last month.

Naomi Osaka serves in a tennis match at the French Open on May 30.

“Naomi Osaka will be greatly missed by all of us at Wimbledon this year, but we completely understand her decision,” Wimbledon told CNET in an emailed statement. “We wish her a happy time with her friends and family and look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year.”

The withdrawal follows Osaka dropping out of the French Open in May after facing a $15,000 fine from tournament organizers for declining to take part in media interviews. Osaka had cited mental health reasons for not wanting to meet with the press during the tennis tournament.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka, 23, wrote in a statement describing her struggles with depression. “I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018.”

Wimbledon is slated to take place from June 28 until July 11. Tournament organizers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

England storms into Euro 2020 final, memes say it’s coming home

Get a kick out of the reaction to the big win. Also, are we seeing double, or were there two balls on the pitch at the same time?

Liam Gallagher, lead singer of the band Oasis, was one of many to tweet the line after the victory.

Since England now moves on to play Italy, Italian fans had a twist on the slogan, arguing that, “It’s coming to Rome.”

It wouldn’t be soccer (er, football) without controversy, and this game had some too. Raheem Sterling of England drew a penalty on a foul that, USA Today notes, “really didn’t look like a foul at all.” That led to the hashtag #DivingHome.

There also appeared to be two balls on the pitch at the time of the controversial penalty. Whoops. Some fans pointed out that when this same thing happened later in the match, play was stopped, but that didn’t happen earlier.

“England invented football so they can do what they want apparently,” said one Twitter user.

The game was played in London, and some tweets suggested that Queen Elizabeth II was working some royal magic with VAR, aka video assistant referees.

There’ll be plenty more social reaction come Sunday, when England meets Italy at noon PT at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Eddie Huang’s Boogie is the ‘Taiwanese-Chinese NY Rocky’

On CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast, the talented Huang opens up about making his feature film directorial debut and his love for writing.

Eddie Huang (center) sits between two of the actors in his debut film Boogie: the late rapper and songwriter Pop Smoke (left), who plays Monk, and Taylor Takahashi (right), who plays Alfred “Boogie” Chin.

“It’s not about basketball, right? He [Boogie] plays basketball. But it’s the Taiwanese-Chinese New York Rocky. Rocky is not about boxing, it’s an Italian American coming-of-age story,” said an energized Huang. “That’s what Boogie does with the Asian American immigrant experience. And then it also intersects with the Black experience.”

Boogie stars Taylor Takahashi in the titular role and the late rapper and songwriter Pop Smoke as rival Monk. In February 2020, Pop Smoke was killed when four men broke into and robbed a house he was renting. Along with Boogie being the only movie he was in, Pop Smoke has original music on the film’s soundtrack.

When I watched Boogie, I was taken aback by its smart and raw storytelling. This is an independent film that is both contemporary and old-school. Huang is incredibly gifted when it comes to dialogue, and Boogie reminds me of the satisfaction I get from the dialogue in a film penned by Quentin Tarantino or Diablo Cody.

During our conversation, Huang discussed the challenges of directing his first feature film, how he absolutely loves writing and how Chinese Americans to this day are still hurt by the myth that MSG is harmful.

You can listen to my entire conversation with Huang on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can currently see his film Boogie in theaters. Also, you can subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.

Field of Dreams game: Watch Kevin Costner’s spine-tingling intro speech

They built it and Costner came out of the corn for real at this memorable MLB baseball game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Kevin Costner on the Field of Dreams at the first MLB game in Iowa, August 2021.

Inspired by the 1989 movie, Major League Baseball built a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark at the farm in Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie was filmed. The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox played a real professional MLB game Thursday.

So who won? Under the beautiful Iowa night sky, Tim Anderson capped the ninth inning by smashing one of the game’s several home runs into the cornfield, winning the game 9-8 for the White Sox.

The game was postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the event and its opening ceremony had an extra poignancy as an opportunity for 7,832 people to gather and enjoy the simple pleasure of a ballgame.

The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox emerge from the corn onto the Field of Dreams.

Written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson and based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams starred Costner as a farmer who hears voices in his head telling him to plow his cornfield into a baseball diamond. The cornfield-ballfield attracts the spirits of baseball players involved in World Series match-fixing in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal.

The MLB has promised a return to Iowa in 2022, although the current disruption caused by the delta variant is a stark warning that the pandemic is far from over.

Belmont Stakes 2021: Post time, TV schedule, how to watch without cable

You don’t need cable to watch the last and longest leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown today on NBC.

The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday on NBC.

The Belmont Stakes takes place Saturday, June 5. TV coverage starts at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET) on NBC. Post time is set for 3:47 p.m. PT (6:47 p.m. ET).

If you don’t have cable, you still have plenty of options. The least expensive that doesn’t require streaming is to connect an over-the-air antenna to your TV and watch your local NBC station. You could also check out a live TV streaming service, all of which offer free trials and offer NBC. Not every service carries your local NBC station, however, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Sling Blue package includes local NBC stations but only in a handful of markets.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

AT&T Now TVs $70-a-month Plus package includes NBC in most markets. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley: Start time, how to watch or stream online, everything to know

The Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley event is live! Here’s what you need to know…

We’re very close now to the fight between Paul and Woodley.

But now Paul faces the former UFC welterweight champion Woodley in a hotly anticipated boxing match. Who wins? It’s a difficult one to pick. Paul has more boxing experience on paper, but Woodley is an ex-champ and, unlike Paul’s previous opponent Ben Askren, Woodley has power in his hands. Most of his most famous wins have come via spectacular knockout.

Here’s everything you need to know…

Mark your calendars for Aug. 29 at 8 p.m ET/5 p.m. PT. The big event will be held in Paul’s hometown of Cleveland, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The fight will air on Showtime pay-per-view, meaning you don’t need to be a regular Showtime subscriber to pay for and watch the fight.

Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza told MMA Fighting on Aug. 2 that the fight will cost viewers $59.99. Not cheap.

“That reflects a couple of things,” Espinoza said of the price. “It’s in the ballpark of where similar fights have been. It is at a point below a lot of other higher priced PPVs, but in particular on this one, I think you’ve got a full boxing card of exciting young fighters. That was the key.”

Showtime’s fight page now is updated with how to buy the fight. Once you pay your $60, you can livestream the fight on a ton of supported devices. You can watch on your computer at Showtime.com, on your mobile phone or tablet, or on your TV and streaming devices, such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV (4th gen and up), Android TV and Xbox One.

You can also order the pay-per-view fight via such providers as Xfinity, Spectrum, Contour, Verizon Fios, Optimum, Vubiquity, DirecTV, U-Verse TV and Dish. Canadians can order it through Rogers, Bell, Shaw, SaskTel, and Telus. It also can be streamed via Sling, Sony’s PlayStation Store, and Fite TV in the U.S. and Canada.

A statement from event organizers says that an exclusive UK broadcast partner will be announced soon. Fox Sports will carry it in Australia and Sky Sports in New Zealand.

There also will be a live audience at the Cleveland arena. Tickets start at $10 and went on sale to the general public on July 22.

Fighters will weigh in at 190 pounds, which is what Paul weighed when he took down Ben Askren in April in a whopping two-minute-long fight. Woodley fought in the UFC at 170 pounds.

Paul stands at 6-foot-1, and Woodley at 5-foot-9. Paul is listed with a 76-inch reach to Woodley’s 74-inch reach.

The fighters will wear 10-ounce gloves and fight in a 20×20 ring, ESPN reports. The fight is scheduled for eight rounds.

Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley aren’t the only ones fighting on the card. Here are all the fights taking place…

The final press conference took place on Thursday and it devolved into a different type of chaos.

Scuffles and shoving matches are normal in boxing, particularly during press conferences, but today’s staredown brought controversy after a member of Jake Paul’s entourage appeared to get into an argument with Tyron Woodley’s mother Deborah Woodley. Tyron Woodley’s sister appeared to get upset and the situation escalated.

Tyron Woodley’s mother Deborah Woodley, affectionately referred to as “Mama Woodley” is a well known figure in the MMA community. She’s incredibly well regarded for congratulating and showing respect to her son’s opponents win or lose.

The fact a member of Paul’s entourage has verbally attacked one of the most loved figures in MMA has set a number of fighters off. Including Jake Paul’s last opponent Ben Askren.

Time will tell if this has an impact on the fight itself. Either way, it’s good promotion for the fight overall.

The two fighters have a creepy bet riding on the outcome. If Paul loses, he has to get “I love Tyron Woodley” tattooed on him somewhere, and if Woodley loses, he has to get “I love Jake Paul” as a tattoo. (Both fighters are already tattooed, so one more won’t exactly be a novel concept.)

And, breaking news, it looks as though a tattoo artist is being flown in to the fight to take care of the bet immediately after the fight. Jake Paul confirmed this plan during an interview this week.

Tatu Baby, who once starred in the show Ink Master, is being flown in. She’s already shared some potential designs for the tattoo.

Whoever gets the tattoo, you just know there’ll be plenty of publicity about the actual tattooing itself, not to mention photos of the final embarrassing product. (Smart tattoo artists in the Paul-Woodley circle are probably already thinking about how to eventually cover up or disguise the message.)

The Paul brothers, Logan and Jake, are both YouTubers turned boxers, which seems like an odd career path, but it is what it is. For one thing, they’re young. Jake Paul is 24, and Logan Paul is 26, so they’ve got youth on their side, plus their YouTube cash gives the option to do whatever they want with their free time. And what they want, apparently, is to beat people up and get beat up in return. These fights aren’t always for the record books, but for the bank books. (Logan Paul’s June bout with 44-year-old Mayweather was simply an exhibition.) While Jake Paul has fought three professional bouts, and won them all, his opponents weren’t professional boxers at their prime. Paul beat YouTuber AnEsonGib, former professional basketball player Nate Robinson and retired MMA fighter Ben Askren. (That last one was quick.) And all of the Paul brothers’ fights draw headlines and chatter, and add to their fame and bank balances.

Woodley talked some trash about Jake Paul at the Askren fight, and that led to the planned Paul-Woodley fight.

“Easiest fight of my career and biggest purse of my career all in one night,” Woodley said of the Paul match, according to ESPN. “Basically, they brought me in to take out the trash.”

Jake Paul is the younger of the two Paul brothers, and in addition to his internet videos, he’s known for playing Dirk Mann in the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark. He began his boxing career in 2018 and has won all three of his professional bouts.

Like his brother, he’s controversial. In July 2020, he made headlines for throwing a giant party in Calabasas, California, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Asked about the party, he told a reporter for The Daily Beast that COVID-19 was a hoax, then later denied saying it, leading to the reporter posting audio proving Paul did make the hoax comments. In that same interview, Paul also claimed “98% of news is fake” and falsely claimed that “medical professionals” say masks do nothing to protect against the virus.

He doesn’t just make headlines at his own events. Jake Paul’s brother, Logan, fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in June, and in May, at a promotional event for the fight, Jake Paul mouthed off at the fighter and snatched Mayweather’s hat. He then started selling black baseball caps with the words “gotcha hat” printed on them.

Woodley, 39, started in MMA back in 2009, became UFC welterweight champion in 2016 and defended his title four times, losing it in 2019.

Like Paul, he has an entertainment career as well. He’s appeared in numerous movies in small roles, and has hosted a podcast and a TMZ web show.

Woodley says this may be his first boxing match, but it won’t be his last.

“At the end of the day, I’m in boxing right now,” he said, according to ESPN. “(Paul’s) my first opponent. This is your first and everybody else’s first chance to watch me box.”

There’s one other big fight on Showtime’s card for the night, plus three smaller ones. Featherweight world champion Amanda Serrano (40-1-1) will take on super bantamweight world champion Yamileth Mercado, who’s 18-2-0.

“Not too many people want to fight me. It’s going to be a great fight,” Serrano said, according to World Boxing News.

Mercado said she began her career at featherweight before going down to bantamweight and is excited to fight in her old weight class again.

“We’re going to leave it all in the ring, and the ladies are going to be stealing the show,” she said, according to the World Boxing News report.

While the Serrano-Mercado fight is being billed as a “co-main event,” there are also three fights on the undercard. Ivan Barancyhk will fight Montana Love, Daniel Dubois will take on Juiseppe Cusumano, and Tommy Fury will fight Anthony Taylor.

World Series 2021: How to watch Astros vs. Braves Game 6 on Fox

The Fall Classic between Houston and Atlanta continues Tuesday, and you can stream it live, no cable required.

The Houston Astros won Game 5 against the Atlanta Braves to keep their World Series title hopes alive. Game 6 will be played in Houston on Tuesday on Fox.

Games 6 and 7, if needed, will be played in Houston.

Just one. Every game of the World Series will be broadcast on Fox.

You can. The Fox Now and Fox Sports app offer 4K streaming on a number of 4K devices from Apple, Roku and Amazon as well as on 4K TVs running Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Google’s Android TV/Google TV software. If you are using these apps, you may need to log in to your cable provider to stream in the higher resolution.

Speaking of cable providers — Comcast, Verizon, Optimum and Cox offer a 4K channel that should have the games. Satellite providers DirecTV and Dish should have a 4K feed as well.

If you’re looking for a streaming service and don’t have cable, you’ll want to use FuboTV or YouTube TV. Note that for the latter you’ll need to be subscribed to the 4K add-on.

All five of the major live TV streaming services carry Fox, but not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries Fox in your area.

If you live in an area with good reception, then you can watch the World Series on Fox for free on over-the-air broadcast channels just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes Fox. You can see which local channels you get here.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes Fox. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and carries Fox. Click the “View all channels in your area” link at the bottom of its welcome page to see which local networks are available where you live.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and carries Fox. Check out which local networks it offers here.

DirecTV Stream’s cheapest, $70-a-month Plus package includes Fox. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available in your area.

Each live TV streaming service offers a free trial, allows you to cancel anytime and requires a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live TV streaming services guide.